Process for seeking Power to Act

A Cabinet committee or a group of Ministers can be given “Power to Act” by Cabinet or the Prime Minister to take decisions on Cabinet’s behalf. 

When Power to Act is exercised, the decision of the Cabinet committee or group of Ministers is final, and does not need to be ratified by Cabinet (although Cabinet needs to be advised of the decision).

Authorisation for Power to Act is normally sought at Cabinet, in advance, at the request of the portfolio Minister if there is a need for a final decision to be made before the next Cabinet meeting. These requests are raised as oral items at Cabinet. The email request form should be used to make the request for a committee to have Power to Act.

Power to Act is occasionally granted by the Prime Minister, as the Chair of Cabinet, in cases where it is not possible to seek Cabinet’s authority in advance of the Cabinet committee meeting or in the time available. In such instances, the Minister’s office should get in touch with the relevant contact in the Cabinet Office (link available only to those with access to the Public Sector Intranet).

The Cabinet minute authorising the Power to Act will state which Cabinet committee or group of Ministers has the authorisation, the specific issue that the authority covers, and a date or time period when the authority may be exercised. 

When it is a Cabinet committee that has Power to Act, the Cabinet committee minute will record that the decisions were made having Power to Act. When it is a group of Ministers that has Power to Act, they should report to Cabinet as soon as possible on the decisions that were made using Power to Act. A Cabinet minute will then formally record the decisions taken.